Claim: Original Calvine UFO Photo

Rory

Closed Account
The photographers were bird spotters

Are you sure? I don't remember reading/hearing that.

Against the bird theory: we're pretty sure there were 6 photos. Chances of a bird looking like the same UFO in all six, while another bird (or two) also looked like a plane?
 

Duke

Active Member
a pyramid bottom strikes me personally as a shitty and unlikely design for several reasons:

a) visibility. stealth / spy planes are designed to almost disappear in the sky. not only for radar but also the human eye. this is the exact opposite design
Stealth and "spy planes" are not synonymous, and historical have been mutually exclusive. To my knowledge there are no stealthy spy planes, too many antennae, electronic emissions, and lens openings to be stealthy.
b) aerodynamics. assuming it has to follow our known physics, this design choice makes zero sense. not being as streamlined as possible, means it has to consume more fuel, consuming more fuel means less range
Possibly, although I don't know what the aerodynamics of such a shape would be. There would have to be wind tunnel tests run to determine that. As for range, with aerial refueling the limiting factor for manned aircraft has been the crew, not the craft or fuel.
c) landing. given a pyramid bottom, means the landing gear must extend and cover a lot of distance, both horizontally and vertically to reach over the pointed middle part. this seams to be a rather fragile and or heavy (to counter it) landing gear construction. this becomes more ridiculous the larger the craft becomes.
You asked how it would land, I gave you two explanations. I assume here you are talking about what I referred to as the tripod landing gear, something akin to the "Jupiter 2" image I included.
Yes, it would be complex, but then so are all retractable landing gears, especially for larger a/c. Lots of moving parts. Keep in mind the weight of conventional landing gear is made up in large part by that of the tires. No tires on this design. If this was a VTOL craft, the gear would take less of a pounding than the dynamic landing loads seen on a conventional a/c.
d) form follows function. what is the function of a pyramid bottom design? so far i can only see negatives. the fact that we dont see this design anywhere else (tech usually has similar existent design as a predecessor) suggests further that it is less likely. even the silly avrocar flying saucer from the 50s had a more reasonable design.

these are my thoughts as a non-aerospace engineer. im an economist, so all i have is somewhat critical thinking and wondering about the "why".
This is likely the best question, and one I have pondered since learning Dr Clarke's source told him the "craft" was a US classified a/c. I don't know the "why," but I do know readily noticable changes in a/c design have come about as a result in advances in technology. Monoplanes, retractable landing gear, enclosed cockpit, propellers (and their removal with the advent of jets), ejection seats, fuselage design (for both supersonic flight and stealthiness), wing thickness and sweep, airborne radar, etc.
Was there a new technology that gave birth to some thing this radical? I don't know.
maybe you as an expert in this field (no sarcasm intended) have come around similar designs in military application. no comic book and movie examples of course and after the invention of the f-117 and B-2.
All I can say here is I have seen some very strange looking aircraft, mostly one-off test and/or proof of concept examples. I know for a fact at least one of them was reported as a UFO. Whether they were as radical in appearance as the Calvine "craft" is in the eye of the beholder. If these a/c are declassified, I'll be happy to discuss what I know.
you said there are some vtol jets that have a landing structure or something like that, could you provide an example?

i mean this shitty design from the 50s had a cart that had to carry it and it was launched vertically. pilots had to land it back on its tail. a pyramid has a pointed base, no matter if you orient it horizontally or vertically (assuming it didnt hover for 10min in a 45 degree position).

maybe you can explain the "why" for such a design choice?
Source: https://youtu.be/-FFGz1lIhwc


This was the Ryan X-13. As I said, it didn't look like the Calvine "craft," but it used the concept of a take-off/landing cradle for a VTOL a/c. For a "craft" like Calvine, a cradle would have to have been horizontal, not vertical. Think something like a nest. If properly designed, it could serve as a trolley and maintenance stand for the aircraft as well, like an aircraft drydock.

I covered the "why" above and admitted it has me stumped, but would think if it exists it's the result of some advance in technology.
maybe its also a boat, like these amphibian cars except it can also fly?
Not sure if this was a serious comment, but you mean like a flying boat, or "hydro aeroplane" as they were initially coined? Such aircraft have existed since shortly after the Wright Brothers first flight, and included jet powered seaplane fighters built by companies like Sanders Roe and Ryan (again). I don't know enough about the engineering of seaplanes/flying boats to speculate, but will point out a flying boat variant of the ubiquitous C-130 Hercules is on the boards currently.
maybe thats how it has to look to create anti gravity fields? (russels tea pot reddit style discussion in this case).
To my knowledge this technology does not exist.
(this shouldnt sound condescending or rhetorical by the way, im a non native english speaker and unfortunately am not as eloquent as i would like to be ;-) )
No offense taken, you made good observations and asked cogent questions.
 
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Duke

Active Member
I am NOT an aerospace engineer, but even to my mind the problem with any of the proposed shapes, such as the diamond or pyramid or whatever it is we're seeing in the photo, is a complete lack of lift, right? There is no wing or surface to use the Bernoulli effect and generate lift. If that's the case, I would think that leaves us with 3 options:

1. Lighter than air. It's a balloon, blimp or other floating craft. They can ascend, but I'm not sure how fast. More importantly, what's the point? Is it a target or radar reflector/test bed. If so, why would it still be classified and unheard of 30 years on.

2. Thrust. It uses jets engines or internal fans or both with enough thrust to vertically lift the craft and hold it in position. Sort of like a Harrier or, I just learned, some F35s.

The F135-PW-600 variant for the F-35B incorporates the Shaft-Driven Lift Fan (SDLF) to allow STOVL operations. Designed by Lockheed Martin and developed by Rolls-Royce, the SDLF, also known as the Rolls-Royce LiftSystem, consists of the lift fan, drive shaft, two roll posts, and a "three-bearing swivel module" (3BSM). The thrust vectoring 3BSM nozzle allows the main engine exhaust to be deflected downward at the tail of the aircraft and is moved by a "fueldraulic" actuator that uses pressurized fuel as the working fluid.[191][192][193] Unlike the Harrier's Pegasus engine that entirely uses direct engine thrust for lift, the F-35B's system augments the swivel nozzle's thrust with the lift fan; the fan is powered by the low-pressure turbine through a drive shaft when engaged with a clutch and placed near the front of the aircraft to provide a counterbalancing thrust.[194][195][196] Roll control during slow flight is achieved by diverting unheated engine bypass air through wing-mounted thrust nozzles called roll posts.[197][198]

1668015786031.png
Content from External Source
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_F-35_Lightning_II

Here is a cool video of an F35 coming into hover. What one will notice, unlike the description of the Calvine craft, is it's far from silent:
Source: https://youtu.be/F8X4J0DCyEc?t=31


There doesn't seem to be any intake/output openings visible on the craft either. So, it's using a silent ductless thrust system for lift?

3. Other. Anything could go here like anti-gravity or any other completely unknown technology for heavier than air flight that has no known antecedents.

Maybe I'm missing something.
I think I covered most of your points in my response to @Domzh, but will point out dealing with a means of propulsion is common for all a/c, not just unique to those that might be diamond shaped. If you are asking what the means of propulsion might be if such a craft exists, I've said from day one I don't know.

I'm very familiar with the JSF/F-35, I was assigned to the JSF Joint Program Office (JPO) for almost five years. The STOVL F-35 is loud, but not as loud as the Harrier according to my USN/USMC/Royal Navy colleagues. Of course we don't know if the witnesses/chefs/poachers/birders were correct about it being silent, just like every other aspect of their story. Any sound it might have made could have been masked by the fast jet(s) in the photo.

As an aside, and to hopefully give some a chuckle, the remote control model aircraft community has given us some unique flying machines that aren't exactly aerodynamic. I've seen a flying lawn mower, ironing board, ball, and (Snoopy's) dog house. Here's a video of that RC model.

Source: https://youtu.be/MTnnXhcmSgY
 
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Duke

Active Member
bird_of_prey_03-1140x558.jpeg
https://www.sandboxx.us/blog/bird-of-prey-boeings-lost-stealth-fighter-once-prowled-over-area-51/

Article

Throughout the 1990s, a team of engineers from McDonnell Douglas’ Phantom Works developed and tested a unique stealth fighter shrowded in the secrecy of Area 51, known to most as the Bird of Prey. Unlike most stealth programs, the Bird of Prey, developed under the alias “YF-118G,” wasn’t aiming for operational service, but elements of the design and production process are still working their way into Uncle Sam’s hangars to this very day.
Content from External Source
https://www.sandboxx.us/blog/bird-of-prey-boeings-lost-stealth-fighter-once-prowled-over-area-51/

Here is the weird looking aircraft I mentioned I know was reported as a UFO, I'd forgotten it was declassified. Particularly when seen from below, it was a head turner.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
As investigators we are trained that most witnesses are honest, but inaccurate. They believe what they think they saw and believe what they report.
Is there a formal training manual or book where there's a line like that. It would make a good quote.
 

Duke

Active Member
Is there a formal training manual or book where there's a line like that. It would make a good quote.
It was a statement from a retired FLETC instructor who lectured our USAF mishap investigator's class on how to interview witnesses.
 
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NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
Here is the weird looking aircraft I mentioned I know was reported as a UFO, I'd forgotten it was declassified. Particularly when seen from below, it was a head turner.

I saw that one while looking for '80s-'90s era stealth aircraft.

Found the General Dynamics/McDonnel Douglass A12 Avenger, that kinda looks like the Calvine craft, at least if it's coming or going. If it were seen head on, it takes on the diamond shape, but the cockpit would be visible. Now if it were flying directly away from the photographer, it would appear to hover for a bit, before banking up and appearing to go vertical.

Here it is head on:

1668046756093.png

Here's the only photo I can find that is from the rear (before the wings were attached):

1668046828612.png

Unfortunately, it appears it never flew:

A government report released in November 1990 documented serious problems with the A-12 development program. In December 1990 Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney told the Navy to justify the program and deliver reasons why it should not be canceled. The response given by the Navy and the contractors failed to persuade the Secretary of Defense, as he canceled the program in the following month, on 7 January 1991, for breach of contract.[3][12]
Content from External Source
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell_Douglas_A-12_Avenger_II

I can see where people looking at these old prototypes and experimental crafts could see a resemblances in the Calvine photo.
 

Duke

Active Member
I saw that one while looking for '80s-'90s era stealth aircraft.

Found the General Dynamics/McDonnel Douglass A12 Avenger, that kinda looks like the Calvine craft, at least if it's coming or going. If it were seen head on, it takes on the diamond shape, but the cockpit would be visible. Now if it were flying directly away from the photographer, it would appear to hover for a bit, before banking up and appearing to go vertical.

Here it is head on:

1668046756093.png

Here's the only photo I can find that is from the rear (before the wings were attached):

1668046828612.png

Unfortunately, it appears it never flew:

A government report released in November 1990 documented serious problems with the A-12 development program. In December 1990 Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney told the Navy to justify the program and deliver reasons why it should not be canceled. The response given by the Navy and the contractors failed to persuade the Secretary of Defense, as he canceled the program in the following month, on 7 January 1991, for breach of contract.[3][12]
Content from External Source
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell_Douglas_A-12_Avenger_II

I can see where people looking at these old prototypes and experimental crafts could see a resemblances in the Calvine photo.
We called it "The Flying Dorito."
 

Giddierone

Member
we're pretty sure there were 6 photos
Is Stu Little's anecdote the only evidence for this? Yes the UAP media article mentions "negatives" plural. But what evidence is there - other than Stu's interview - that they show aircraft? Stu says he's always been "in to UFOs" (#35 [6:00]) and would have been very aware of the fame of the photo, but at over the past 30 years hasn't mentioned that he was privvy to its surrounding frames publicly? Seems odd.
 
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Rory

Closed Account
Is Stu Little's anecdote the only evidence for [there being six photos]?

From the MoD's 'Loose Minute' of Sep 14 1990:

Screen Shot 2022-11-10 at 10.09.26.png

Are you sure? I don't remember reading/hearing that.

But clearly I did read it, since I was the one who wrote it down. ;)

Interesting revisiting that part of the conversation: Clarke says "I understand one of them was a keen birdwatcher" - but this also follows right after he was talking about his DI source who is the one who said they were poaching.

I suppose no reason why someone couldn't be a photographer, a chef, a dishwasher, a student, a poacher, a birdwatcher, and a hiker/walker all at the same time. ;)

Another point I must have missed first time around: Clarke says Lindsay told him they were on a youth training scheme. If this was the official YTS then that was a scheme for 16 and 17 year-olds that lasted for up to years.

But again, that's from Lindsay's memory via Clarke; it may not have been the official YTS but was instead used loosely; and knowing the age doesn't help identify what's in the picture any, it's just another little tidbit we've been musing over.
 
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Giddierone

Member
From the MoD's 'Loose Minute' of Sep 14 1990:
I know, they say "six photographic negatives of an alleged UFO" but are we to understand that the alleged UFO remains stationary across these images? (he says it's not in frame 1, frame 2 is the famous image we have, then it gets muddy as to what exactly is shown in frames 3-6) I'm not aware of any description of their content other than Little's.
 

Rory

Closed Account
are we to understand that the alleged UFO remains stationary across these images?

I'd imagine so. If the witnesses' story was that it was stationary then I would think that's what the pictures would have shown. Little also says the same thing and it doesn't seem there's any record of it not being stationary.

he says it's not in frame 1,

No, the UFO is in all the frames. Are you confusing it with the airfraft?

it gets muddy as to what exactly is shown in frames 3-6

Little's pretty clear on that but I guess no one really knows. He said:

Frame 1 no aircraft
Frame 2 (the Lindsay photo)
Frame 3 craft a little to the right and the plane over to the left, banking clockwise, and looking to circle back around
Frame 4 with two jets
Frames 5 and 6 no aircraft

https://www.metabunk.org/threads/calvine-disclosure-team-q-a.12584/post-277613
Content from External Source
 

Alexandria Nick

Active Member
Stealth and "spy planes" are not synonymous, and historical have been mutually exclusive. To my knowledge there are no stealthy spy planes, too many antennae, electronic emissions, and lens openings to be stealthy.
Depends if you want to count the RQ-170 and RQ-180.

Or how stealthy the SR-71 was.
 

Duke

Active Member
Depends if you want to count the RQ-170 and RQ-180.

Or how stealthy the SR-71 was.
I know little about unmanned aircraft.

Blackbird relied on speed/altitude for protection, not stealth. It was detected routinely, and numerous nations tried to intercept and/or shoot it down.
 

Duke

Active Member
Article:

"On the back of the original photo we acquired last year is the name of the photographer, but we have not released this information into the public domain," said researcher Matthew Illsley.

"During our research, though, we have confirmed the man in question did live in Pitlochry in 1990/1991 while working as a kitchen porter at a hotel."
Content from External Source
https://www.unexplained-mysteries.c...hunt-for-photographer-behind-famous-ufo-image

We'd heard the photographer's name was on the photo turned over to Dr Clarke's team by Lindsay, but is this the first time we've heard they confirmed the man lived in Pitlochry in 90/91 and did work as kitchen staff at a hotel there?
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
Article:

"On the back of the original photo we acquired last year is the name of the photographer, but we have not released this information into the public domain," said researcher Matthew Illsley.

"During our research, though, we have confirmed the man in question did live in Pitlochry in 1990/1991 while working as a kitchen porter at a hotel."
Content from External Source
https://www.unexplained-mysteries.c...hunt-for-photographer-behind-famous-ufo-image

We'd heard the photographer's name was on the photo turned over to Dr Clarke's team by Lindsay, but is this the first time we've heard they confirmed the man lived in Pitlochry in 90/91 and did work as kitchen staff at a hotel there?
I remember hearing that, but not where. The problem is that Clark has 2-3 deferent blog posts about the picture, a YouTube video, a Q&A session and an article in Forteain Times which is behind a pay wall. There is no central write up out there.

IIRC the part about tracking the guy down might be in the Forteain Times article. I read most of it in a Barns & Nobels and while I don't like doing that, it's a British publication that ends up being over $12 here in the States. It just wasn't that important to me.

If true, that they tracked him down and other people who saw the picture, I still don't get what all the secrecy is about. I know libel laws are different in the UK, but still, this guy was totally willing to send the picture to the papers 30 years ago. He either has the "best UFO picture ever" as some say, or he caught a classified craft somehow. If the story is legit, then why stay hidden? Now if there are a number of holes in the story that he would prefer not to answer...
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
https://www.unexplained-mysteries.c...hunt-for-photographer-behind-famous-ufo-image
interesting, your article link(Jan 28,2023) says
Article:
On August 4th 1990, two young chefs had been walking in the Cairngorms National Park near Perth when they spotted a strange diamond-shaped object in the sky nearby.


that is not the same location the disclosure team thought they found.

although the article also opens with "2 young chefs" and chefs are not porters.
the article also says
Article:
Convinced that they had seen a UFO, the men passed their best photograph along to a local newspaper



so... not a great source.

another source Jan 27, 2023
Article:
He said: “On the back of the original photo we acquired last year is the name of the photographer, but we have not released this information into the public domain. During our research, though, we have confirmed the man in question did live in Pitlochry in 1990/1991 while working as a kitchen porter at a hotel.

"We have also traced a number of his former colleagues, one of whom says he knew the photographer well during their time together. This witness is also adamant the photographer was not a Perthshire native, but he was actually from the Falkirk area, was a Falkirk FC fan, and that he left the hotel and returned to his home town a short while after the photo was taken.

“We subsequently discovered the photographer was in his early 20s in 1990, and that only two boys of the right name and age were born in the Falkirk area, one in 1965 and one in 1968

...
Matthew, Dr Clarke and the team have now reached a dead end in their search for the elusive photographer, so they contacted The Falkirk Herald to see if a news article in the area would help jog anyone’s memory.
 

DavidB66

Senior Member
The problem is that Clark has 2-3 deferent blog posts about the picture, a YouTube video, a Q&A session and an article in Forteain Times which is behind a pay wall
I typed out substantial extracts from the Fortean Times article [NB spelling] in #169 of the thread on 'Calvine photo hoax theories'. That post (and a previous one) also detailed a way of accessing Fortean Times for free using a free trial of an aggregation service.

Several points in the Falkirk Herald article of Jan 27 2023 (linked in Deirdre's post #1059 above) are new to me, and not mentioned in the Fortean Times article, notably the connection of the two 'witnesses' with Falkirk.
 

Duke

Active Member
I typed out substantial extracts from the Fortean Times article [NB spelling] in #169 of the thread on 'Calvine photo hoax theories'. That post (and a previous one) also detailed a way of accessing Fortean Times for free using a free trial of an aggregation service.

Several points in the Falkirk Herald article of Jan 27 2023 (linked in Deirdre's post #1059 above) are new to me, and not mentioned in the Fortean Times article, notably the connection of the two 'witnesses' with Falkirk.
And if looks like the article I posted was based on the Falkirk article, it was dated the day after the Falkirk article.

If they are having this much trouble finding the guy, good chance the photographer has a common surname, like Smith.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Several points in the Falkirk Herald article of Jan 27 2023 (linked in Deirdre's post #1059 above) are new to me

and what's with the MOD guy saying:
Article:
Meanwhile, we have learned a man

of the right name and age currently works for the Ministry of Defence as a photo analyst at the same base to which the photos were sent for analysis in 1990.

"This man, when contacted, told us that he had ‘no recollection’ of being in Scotland in the period in question.”


why didnt they ask him if he faked a UFO picture in the 1990s :)
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
And if looks like the article I posted was based on the Falkirk article, it was dated the day after the Falkirk article.

If they are having this much trouble finding the guy, good chance the photographer has a common surname, like Smith.

Yeah, your article was from what looks like one of those mystery aggregator sites. Lots of short stories scraped from the web about UFOs, Bigfoot and other stuff.

and what's with the MOD guy saying:
Article:
Meanwhile, we have learned a man

of the right name and age currently works for the Ministry of Defence as a photo analyst at the same base to which the photos were sent for analysis in 1990.

"This man, when contacted, told us that he had ‘no recollection’ of being in Scotland in the period in question.”


why didnt they ask him if he faked a UFO picture in the 1990s :)

The MoD guy is saying that he had "no recollection of being in Scotland in the period in question". It's two other witnesses that are claiming someone from the MoD with his name showed up at the Hotel asking questions (bold by me):

"Elsewhere, two other witnesses have also come forward and alleged officials from the Ministry of Defence visited the hotel in 1990.
Content from External Source
Meanwhile, we have learned a man of the right name and age currently works for the Ministry of Defence as a photo analyst at the same base to which the photos were sent for analysis in 1990.
"This man, when contacted, told us that he had ‘no recollection’ of being in Scotland in the period in question.”
Content from External Source
The article concludes with:

Matthew said: “Despite all our efforts, we have been unable to definitively trace the photographer, although according to all the evidence we have amassed, he is still alive and in his 50s."
Content from External Source
I don't' get that. According to Matthew the team has:

  • The supposed name of the photographer on the back of the photo.
  • Established that someone with that name lived in Pitlochry and worked at a hotel in the kitchen at the right time.
  • Found people that worked with and remember this person.
  • Were told the person was from Falkirk originally.
  • Found that there were 2 people born in the mid-late '60s in Falkirk with the same name.
  • Someone with the same name being born then would have been around 20 at the time and 50ish today.
Sounds pretty close, unless as Duke suggests these are all guys named John Smith. but that doesn't seem possible if in a 3 year period from '65-'68 there were only 2 people born in Falkirk with that name. Depends on what is meant by "Falkirk" as there is the town and the Council Area. The town was smallish as of 2001:

The United Kingdom Census 2001 identified the town as having a total resident population of 32,422.[27] The population was estimated at 34,570 in 2008[28] which makes the town the 20th most populous settlement in Scotland. The wider Falkirk area which includes Grangemouth, Larbert and Stenhousemuir has an overall population of 98,940 making this the 5th largest urban area after Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee.[29]
Content from External Source
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falkirk

But the Council Area is much larger. I found as far back as 1981, showing a population of 145,146

1675722398480.png
https://www.citypopulation.de/en/uk/admin/scotland/S12000014__falkirk/
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Sounds pretty close, unless as Duke suggests these are all guys named John Smith. but that doesn't seem possible if in a 3 year period from '65-'68 there were only 2 people born in Falkirk with that name
you dont have to be born somewhere to be from somewhere. i was born in Long Island, but everyone i know would say i'm from COnnecticut.

add: also maybe his birth certificate is his mother's maiden name, but after she married his step father he used his step father's name.
The MoD guy is saying that he had "no recollection of being in Scotland in the period in question". It's two other witnesses that are claiming someone from the MoD with his name showed up at the Hotel asking questions (bold by me)
it's kinda ambiguous, but i think the MOD guy has the photographers name (only because i remember reading that earlier during our first round of Calvine discussions)
 
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Max Phalange

Active Member
A new article in the Scottish Daily Record claims to identify the author of the Calvine photo as one Kevin Russell.

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/scots-hotel-porter-could-hold-29380068

The Daily Record has now been told that the person who took the photo was a young Glaswegian called Kevin Russell, who was working as a porter at the Pitlochry Hydro Hotel at the time. Kevin and a friend were left terrified by the 100ft long aircraft, which they said hovered above the A9 near Calvine for 10 minutes then soared off at high speed when buzzed by RAF jets.

Investigator Matthew Illsley told the Record: "The identity of Kevin Russell, the photographer, remained a secret for 33 years, until now. We would very much like him to come forward to confirm once and for all that what he saw was real."


  • The pic, sent by the Record to the RAF, names Kevin Russell as the author
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
this is my main issue with the calvine photograph. we look at the craft without seeing its bottom side.

this doesnt has to mean anything if something is flying, but if its hovering we can reasonably assume its level with the ground.

isnt this a major argument, if not 99% proof for a model in front of the camera?!
I agree, not seeing the bottom argues that the photographer couldn't have been looking upward at it. But your argument could apply as easily to a reflection as to a model.
 

flarkey

Senior Member.
Staff member
I wonder if any information can be gleaned from the letters and numbers on the back of that print?

"This Paper Manufactured By Kodak"

and

1678104722849.png

28 0231 N-2 N 2 2 85 G4 (batch number? Developer information?)


https://photo.stackexchange.com/que...point of the code,machine that made the print.

Those appear to be codes from a Fuji Frontier automatic film processing lab machine or one of its older predecessors. Such machines were/are popular at mass retailers who did/do one hour photo processing and printing.

Users have some leeway in assigning what information is printed using the codes on the back of the print, so there is some variation depending on the specific user's preferences. Some mass retailers used a standardized format across all machines in all of their stores, other chains seem to have used whatever the individual tech who set up the machine selected and can vary significantly from one location to the next. Here's what your first sample code probably means:

032 12+00 NNNNN+15AU 0110
032 - Identifies the specific machine among other machines the same operator may own. Mass retailers with less than 999 locations could assign a different code to every machine they owned in all of their locations using this field. This could also be used to represent the roll number, job number, or even the sequential negative/print number.

12+00 - Two codes representing the film maker and film speed along with film density. Used by the machine to apply a specific profile that had been previously entered for that particular film. Each machine could have different numbers assigned for the same film maker. Film maker '1' might be Kodak for one machine and Fuji for another. Film speed '2' might be for ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, etc. depending on the numbers assigned for that machine. The two numbers after the '+' symbol usually related to film density. If the film was processed "straight" (i.e. ISO 400 film was developed as ISO 400) and the resulting density of the negatives were "average" (kind of like our modern expectation of the average brightness of a digital photo being 18% gray) it was usually +00. If the negatives were darker or lighter than normal then a '+' or '-' number would be applied to bring them back to an expected "average". This is where an operator paying attention could notice that the shots were supposed to be brighter or darker than "average" and use a more appropriate number.

NNNNN - represents the amount of correction manually entered by the operator for cyan/magenta/yellow (some machines reversed the order to yellow/cyan/magenta) and two user assignable parameters. If the letter 'N' is used, it means the default setting for that particular machine (at the time the print was made) was used and no additional manually entered correction was done. Since the user of each machine could assign their own default profiles and custom changes for particular films (identified using the XX+XX code) the amount of correction in this field is pretty much meaningless unless the machine's software version and profile loaded into the machine at the time the print was made is known.

+16AU - Identifies auto-correction applied by the machine's automatic routines. AU is for 'Auto', not 'August'.

0110 - Another user assignable sequence number. It could be the job, roll, or print number for that day.

I've also seen prints from Fuji machines that use the following format. When the < xxxx> brackets are used, the number inside is almost always a sequence number corresponding to the negative number on the roll of film.

< No. 02 > 003 22-02 NNNNN-32AU 0032

When dates were included in the codes they were usually fairly obvious, such as:

APR96 001 0111 NNNN

Some stores chose to print the date on a separate line from the developing/printing information.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
hovered above the A9 near Calvine for 10 minutes
Content from External Source
in broad daylight, and apparently nobody else saw it
That is a new twist, but I would suspect it's just modern lazy journalism. Ten minutes, ten seconds whatever?

If the identification of Russell is true, how does that square with Linsday's memory of him being English? This article claims:

The Daily Record has now been told that the person who took the photo was a young Glaswegian called Kevin Russell
Content from External Source
Illsley said Kevin would likely be in his 50s now. Hotel colleagues who were tracked down said he returned to Glasgow in the early 90s.
Content from External Source
I guess he could be an Englishman that lived in Glasgow.

Pure speculation, but based on Clark having seen the original photo, what he has written and now his collaborator Illsley releasing the name to the paper, it would appear they've had this name for a while and can't seem to track him down. Now a public appeal.

Guess we wait and see now.
 

Duke

Active Member
Couple of thoughts--

"Copyright Kevin Russell" doesn't necessarily mean the photo was taken by someone named "Kevin Russell." Also am curious who wrote that on the back of the photo, and when? The photographer/Kevin Russell? Some secretary at the newspaper before it was sent to the RAF? Someone within the RAF after it was received? I think all we know for sure is it was on the back of the photo when Dr Clark and company received it from Lindsay, unless Lindsay has stated the name was on the back when he received it.

I know nothing about copyright laws in the UK, but in the US it's a formal process requiring filing paperwork with the US Copyright Office, including a copy of whatever you are seeking to register, and paying a fee. What's written on the back of photo notwithstanding, I wonder if Dr Clark and company checked with whatever office registers copyrights in the UK to see if the photo was actually copyrighted? In the US at least, copyrights are public domain material.

A few months back I wondered if the surname on the back of the photo was a common one. "Russell" was, at least according the source below, the 88th most common surname in the UK in 2002. (The 94th most popular surname in the UK, "Harvey," shows as there having been 57,435 people in the UK in 2002.) Even eliminating females and filtering those named "Russell" who would have been too young or too old to have taken the photo in 1990, is still going to produce a good size pool of possible photographers. And that's assuming the guy didn't emigrate to Australia or somewhere and/or chance his name or gender.
https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:English_surnames_(England_and_Wales)
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I know nothing about copyright laws in the UK, but in the US it's a formal process requiring filing paperwork with the US Copyright Office, including a copy of whatever you are seeking to register, and paying a fee. What's written on the back of photo notwithstanding, I wonder if Dr Clark and company checked with whatever office registers copyrights in the UK to see if the photo was actually copyrighted? In the US at least, copyrights are public domain material.
Article:
There isn’t a register of copyright works in the UK.


And even in the US, it's only necessary to register if you want to be able to sue for statutory damages.
 

Duke

Active Member
Article:
There isn’t a register of copyright works in the UK.


And even in the US, it's only necessary to register if you want to be able to sue for statutory damages.
That's what I meant by a formal process.

If such a formal process existed in the the UK, and Russell had filed for same, it would have made finding him easier since full name and DoB would have almost certainly been required. As it is now, we have an estimated age/YoB (+/- 5 years maybe) and a nondescript first name that may or may not be a birth/given name, or at least a name that would readily identify him.
 
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NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
it was 10 minutes. link to MOD paperwork:
I stand corrected. I guess I remembered it different. I'll be the example of "Go back and check your sources before spouting off"!

"Copyright Kevin Russell" doesn't necessarily mean the photo was taken by someone named "Kevin Russell." Also am curious who wrote that on the back of the photo, and when? The photographer/Kevin Russell?
At the risk of repeating a similar faux-pax as above, IIRC Linsday said he wrote the name on the back of the photo. I gotta finish dinner now and don't have time to look through 27 pages, but pretty sure that's the story as we know it.
 

Duke

Active Member
I stand corrected. I guess I remembered it different. I'll be the example of "Go back and check your sources before spouting off"!


At the risk of repeating a similar faux-pax as above, IIRC Linsday said he wrote the name on the back of the photo. I gotta finish dinner now and don't have time to look through 27 pages, but pretty sure that's the story as we know it.
I suspected that was the case, but I took a quick run through the thread and didn't find it. He has nice penmanship.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
IIRC Linsday said he wrote the name on the back of the photo
he also implied he didnt know the names and had to ask the Daily record. and that it was the Atholl Hotel.

i dont know where Rory got this info, (or why Lindsay would doodle another journalist) but if true the K's match pretty good (if you ignore the extra line added in.) the t's ain't a bad match either, and the draggy "n" at the ends

PS If anyone's curious about the upside down name and address they're of a journalist (died in 2015) who worked for the Edinburgh Evening News.
Apparently the name and address were "doodled" by Craig Lindsay and have no significance (according to David Clarke).
1678163460772.png
 

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Duke

Active Member
he also implied he didnt know the names and had to ask the Daily record. and that it was the Atholl Hotel.

i dont know where Rory got this info, (or why Lindsay would doodle another editor) but if true the K's match pretty good (if you ignore the extra line added in.) the t's ain't a bad match either, and the draggy "n" at the ends



1678163460772.png
Wonder what the word is after Russell on the back of the photo? My first thought was it began with an "S," but it looks to lack the loop in the lower part of the letter as shown in the "S" in "Ken Smart." Maybe a date, first number "9?"
 
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